“Don’t Wait Too Long”

"Behold, now is the accepted time…now is the day of salvation" (2 Cor. 6.2)

     INTRO.: A song which invites those who are lost to come now while they have the time, before it is too late, is "Don’t Wait Too Long." The text was written and the tune was composed both by Tillit Sidney Teddlie (1885-1987). A well-known hymnwriter and music publisher among churches of Christ, Teddlie authored such much loved and used favorites as "Worthy Art Thou" beginning, "Worthy of praise is Christ, our Redeemer;" "The Lord’s Supper" beginning, "When we meet in sweet communion;" and perhaps his most famous, "Heaven Holds All To Me" beginning, "Earth holds no treasures but perish with using." I have not been able to find a date or origin of publication for "Don’t Wait Too Long." Interestingly enough, it was not found in any books published by Teddlie that are in my collection, except his 1943 Standard Gospel Songs.

     In addition to that, among songbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, it appeared in the 1936 Triumphant Songs, the 1940 Praise and Revival Songs, the 1952 Hymns of Praise and Devotion, and the 1958 Gospel Melody Songs all edited by Will W. Slater, where it is marked "Controlled by W. W. Slater;" the 1963 Christian Hymnal edited by J. Nelson Slater; and the original edition only of the 1971 Songs of the Church edited by Alton H. Howard. Today, it appears only in the 1978/1983 (Church) Gospel Songs and Hymns edited by V. E. Howard; and the 1999 Into Our Hands: Songs for the Church edited by Leland R. Fleming; in addition to the 2007 Sacred Songs of the Church edited by William D. Jeffcoat.

     The song urges the sinner not to delay in obeying the gospel.

I. Stanza 1 reminds us that we should not stay away from Jesus
"Oh! soul, why stay away from Jesus? Don’t wait too long.
Decide today and come repenting; Oh! soul, don’t wait too long."
 A. Some people, like the rich young ruler, choose to stay away from Jesus: Matt. 19.16-22
 B. However, the Bible encourages each one who needs to be saved to hear His voice and not harden their hearts today: Heb. 3.7-8
 C. Rather the sinner should come repenting: Lk. 13.3, Acts 17.30-31, 2 Cor. 7.10

II. Stanza 2 reminds us that today may be the last one given
"Today may be the last one given; Don’t wait too long.
Decide today for home and heaven; Oh! soul, don’t wait too long."
 A. "Today" was the last one for the rich fool: Lk. 12.16-20
 B. God is preparing a home for those who would obey and serve Him: Matt. 25.34
 C. However, we must decide for heaven by entering the strait gate to travel the narrow way that leads to eternal life: Matt. 7.13-14

III. Stanza 3 reminds us that Christians are praying for the lost
"While we in love for you are praying, Don’t wait too long.
Accept His word and come obeying; Oh! soul, don’t wait too long."
 A. It is the heart’s desire and prayer of all true Christians that the lost might be saved: Rom. 10.1
 B. However, while we must preach the gospel, no Christian can just will the sinner to be saved; the sinner must accept Christ’s word by believing its message: Jn. 8.24, Acts 16.30-31, Rom.10.9-10
 C. Also, the sinner must come obeying because Jesus is the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him: Heb. 5.8-9

     CONCL.: The chorus repeats the admonition not to wait in coming to Jesus.
"Don’t wait too long! Don’t wait too long!
Decide today and come to Jesus; Oh! soul, don’t wait too long."
Satan will try to involve us in sinful activities if he can. Yet, he does not have to involve us in sinful activities per se to cause us to be lost if he can just involve us in enough other activities that we do not give proper consideration to the needs of our souls. And even if we do recognize our souls’ needs, he can still cause us to be lost by getting us to keep putting off doing something about them. Thus, those of us who are concerned about the spiritual condition of those who are lost should encourage them, saying "Don’t Wait Too Long."


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